Graham Leads Bears to 1st Victory

Barclay College found themselves in Ankeny, IA for their first Midwest Christian College Conference games of the year. The Bears took on host school Faith Baptist Bible College on Friday night and then battled with Emmaus Bible College (Dubuque, IA) on Saturday afternoon.

After the long trek north, the Bears took to the court to take on a talented Eagle squad in front of a great crowd. The Bears jumped out to an early 7-2 lead before Faith Baptist rallied to take a two point lead of their own. The first half was back and forth with the Bears utilizing their interior strength and the Eagles connecting from long range. At intermission, the Bears stared at a five point deficit, 43-48, thanks to the Eagles eight first half threes and a buzzer beater.

Faith was able to maintain their lead after the first ten minutes of the second half and then preceded to push their lead to as many as 13 before the Bears cut the lead all the way down to six with just over two minutes. Six points, however, was as close as the Bears could get as Faith knocked down clutch free throws to close the game out and hand the Bears an 86-92 loss.

Even though virtually all statistical categories were even, Faith outshot the Bears 52.4 percent to 44.3 percent. Junior Charles Brodhead (Lompoc, CA) paced the Bears with 33 points on 13-21 shooting. Sophomore Cole Hibler (Ponca City, OK) pitched in 14 points and 3 assists while Freshman Jay Milton (Paris, TX) put up 13 points and pulled down 7 rebounds.

Saturday afternoon was a quick turn around for the Bears as they took on Emmaus Bible, fresh off an upset of defending MCCC champion Manhattan Christian College (Manhattan, KS) the night before. Once again the Bears jumped out to an early lead only to relinquish it very quickly. For over ten minutes of the first half the Bears went scoreless and found themselves trailing Emmaus 24-34 at the halfway point.

Coming out of the second half, the Bears were poised and ready for a comeback. It all started with their interior play. They pounded it inside to the tune of 72 percent from the floor and twenty second half free throw attempts. The Bears roared back and even built a six point lead, but the Eagles remained relentless, closing the Bear’s lead to two in the final minute of regulation. After a costly turnover by the Bears, Emmaus put the ball in their pesky point guard Skyler Sandry’s hands with less than ten seconds left. Even though he was able to drive and tie the game up at the buzzer, foul trouble and fatigue finally caught up to them. In overtime, the Bears outscored Emmaus 18-5 for their first win of the season, 94-81.

Senior Tony Graham (Baltimore, MD) poured in 30 points, including 12-15 from the free throw line, and grabbed 8 boards to lead the Bears. Sophomore Andre Barnes (Conroe, TX) muscled in 14 points and countered the Eagles double teams with 4 assists. Brodhead pitched in 13 points and 6 boards as well.

“Sometimes the first win is the most difficult to get, so it feels real good to get that one against a quality opponent in Emmaus,” commented Head Coach Royce Bryan. “Playing Faith on their home court is no easy chore. They are legit and at the end of the day, they just shot the ball better than we did.”

Barclay College (1-3, 0-1) travels to Panhandle State University (Goodwell, OK) on Tuesday night before heading to the University of the Ozarks (Clarksville, AR) next weekend.